No. 10 sports story of 2018 | Severe weather impacts area sports
By Malcolm Shields
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Inclement weather is a normal part of high school and college sports.
This year, however, saw two seasons have their schedules altered due to severe weather.
The snow storm to begin the year and the impact of Hurricane Florence in September is The Daily Advance’s No. 10 sports story of 2018.
Let’s go back to January.
Not even a week into the new year, a snow storm hit the region on Jan. 4.
The impact of the storm altered the schedules of high school and college sports in the area.
Days after the storm passed, lingering snow and the issue of ice on roads prevented schools from opening because of the travel hazard.
Multiple high school boys and girls basketball, swimming and wrestling events were forced to be canceled or rescheduled later in the month and into February.
Elizabeth City State had to reschedule multiple men’s and women’s basketball contests.
Most of the games that were impacted were Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association home games at the Vaughan Center.
The biggest weather story of the year not only impacted the region, but all of eastern North Carolina.
Hurricane Florence forced the cancellation or postponement of several games at the high school and college level starting the week of Sept. 10.
Some contests were moved up and played prior to Sept. 13, while others were rescheduled days or weeks down the calendar.
Hurricane Florence’s full strength wasn’t felt in northeast North Carolina as the storm came ashore Sept. 14 and lingered along the coast near Wilmington for days.
The damage from the storm led the North Carolina High School Athletic Association to announce Sept. 24 that it would adjust the start of some state playoff tournaments, most notably football, for the fall season.
The end of the football regular season was moved from Nov. 2 to Nov. 9.
In volleyball, the annual Northeastern Coastal Conference tournament was canceled so teams in the six-team conference could complete postponed games along with the remaining games on their schedules.
The NCHSAA pushed back seeding dates for the state playoffs in volleyball and boys soccer.
Most area high school football games that were scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14 were made up.
Currituck ended up hosting Edenton on Nov. 8, Pasquotank hosted Perquimans on Sept. 27 and Camden hosted Riverside from Williamston on Sept. 28.
Northeastern’s road non-league game at Northern Nash scheduled for Sept. 14 was moved several times after the storm.
The game was rescheduled to be played Nov. 9.
The contest ended up being canceled because Northern Nash needed to find a date to play a conference game.
Northeastern ended up being the only team in the Daily Advance’s coverage area that did not play a complete 11-game regular-season schedule in football.
At the college level, Mid-Atlantic Christian and ECSU volleyball games were postponed.
The ECSU football program took one of the hardest hits from Florence among area college programs.
The Vikings were forced to cancel the 2018 edition of the Down East Viking Football Classic in Rocky Mount.
The game was scheduled to be played Saturday, Sept. 15 against Winston-Salem State as a designated non-conference matchup.
The annual contest is one of the high-profile games on ECSU’s schedule and is one of the anchor events for the university during the week in Rocky Mount.
The classic was not played for the first time since the 1999 season when Hurricane Floyd forced the cancellation of ECSU’s contest against North Carolina Central.
ECSU’s CIAA road contest against Fayetteville State on Sept. 22 was canceled.
Days leading up to the contest, Fayetteville State had not re-opened its campus to students.
The Vikings would return to the field on Sept. 29 at home against Saint Augustine’s.
ECSU went 21 days between games.
ECSU’s last game before the hurricane was a 51-6 loss at North Carolina-Pembroke on Sept. 8.
Ironically, ECSU’s only win in football this year was against Central State on Sept. 1.
That game was stopped and eventually ended with the Vikings leading early in the fourth quarter because of lightning near Roebuck Stadium.